If you ever worry about the microbes living unseen inside your own home, beware: artist Margarita Sampson has beautifully manifested your worst fears — but with good intentions. In a series of soft sculptures currently being exhibited at the Stanley Street Gallery in Sydney, Sampson upholstered found chairs with colonies of organic growth. All of the sprouting nodules and budding orifices are meticulously hand-sewn with brightly colored textile materials, giving the hairy and spiny lifeforms both an endearing and unsettling quality. Inspired by Sampson’s upbringing on Norfolk Island, the coral- and urchin-like growths seem to take on a presence and consciousness of their own; leave them for a few weeks, and they might consume the entire room.
Titled Infectious Desires, Sampson’s exhibition explores the false dichotomy of domestic sterility and messy, organic life. We often imagine our bodies as detached from the chaotic and “dirty” processes of proliferation and decay — indeed, separate from the microscopic worlds that breed and die on every surface we encounter — when in fact we are already enmeshed within those environments. As Sampson eloquently expresses on the Stanley Street Gallery exhibition page, the “glamour” of interior life is illusory:
“Glamour is the strict control of the body or the environment, sublimated to an ideal — there’s no body fluids or stains in glamour. It’s about boundaries, zones of comfort. We feel we are betrayed by our bodies — a lot of this work is about my own aging, my body, about death and disease, about fear and surrender, tightening and release” (Source).
With their hyperbolic size and sexually suggestive shapes, Samspon’s sculptures boldly encounter us with the material realities of our bodies. There is no need to fear the lifeforms inhabiting our favorite furniture — we (and anything we shed, ooze, or excrete) are already hosts to invisible, microbial landscapes.
With a name like Daniel Danger, well, a certain excess of awesome is expected of you. Danger delivers. The product of an artistically-inclined family, Danger is an illustrator, printmaker, and musician working out of New England. His works feature mysterious figures wandering the midnight-shaded streets of cities in decay. Spirits rise in unison from old houses and barns where now dreams of daylight lie interred. Shadows loom, larger-than-life (or death?) in urban sprawl and twisted forest alike. Each piece tells its own dark tale.
Bert Löeschner among the artists with the spirit of animators who anthropomorphically instill life in the objects they choose. His object of choice is the ever-present and thereby invisible lawn chair. Löschner uses them to make charming characters and sculptures of equally ubiquitous objects– lovers, vagabonds, pedestrians, swingsets, etc. Next time you’re bored or down, just anthropomorphize the objects and plants around you and the world will be a much friendlier place. (via)
Imagine Lolita has joined the cast of The Walking Dead and found a meadow to hide in, and you will get Japanese artist Goto Atsuko’s incredible paintings. They are a mixture between something incredibly sweet and innocent, and something deadly poisonous that features only in nightmares. Her work features sullen, melancholic girls with large eyes and awkward features, and an overload of flowers, leaves, bees, butterflies, ribbons and bows. It’s like a cross between a Tim Burton animation, zombie profiling, and a child’s dark fairytale – all top of with a serving of strawberries and cream.
Compiled from cotton, glue, pigments, gum arabic and lapis lazuli, Atsuko uses both mundane and precious materials – again stressing the contrast between good and bad; naughty and nice. Atsuko’s paintings are a beautiful, haunting combination of childhood and adulthood, and how the two can exist together harmoniously. She shows us everything is not as simple as it seems, maybe that we all have a complicated persona – we are troubled one minute, and celebrating life with the animal kingdom the next. To see more profiles of her beautiful heavenly-devil-children-creatures, see her website here. (Via Booooooom)
For his latest project, titled the Abyss Table, designer Christopher Duff of Duffy London constructs a detailed cross section of the sea bed from sheets of glass and wood. Inspired by mythology, he designed the piece of furniture to look like one belonging to an ancient deity, capable of pulling up chunks of the earth for his own decorative use. From above, the table resembles a topographical map laid flat, but when viewed from the side, it becomes a multilayered and multidimensional model of a three-dimensional mass forged over millennia.
The brilliance of the Abyss Table lies in part in the conflicting nature of its form and function. By its very definition, the table is not an abyss but the exact opposite: a protruding surface capable of supporting objects. Here, the liquid surface of the ocean is transmuted into an imperturbable solid, and fluid space becomes sturdy and unbroken.
On the website of Duffy London, the preliminary image of the table, which will be released this fall, is accompanied with a line from Friedrich Nietzche’s “Beyond Food and Evil:” “And when you gaze long into an abyss, the abyss also gazes into you.” This oft-quoted passage, almost always meant metaphorically, finds a very literal manifestation here. Contained in this table, the dark, unknowable emptiness that consumes the human mind moves poetically into the home, merging its mysteries with the normal routines of domesticity. Each image shown here is a digital model from which the actual table will be built. Take a look. (via Colossal)
Photographer Orlane Lou Paquet’s most recent work includes a number of models in a variety of landscapes. She places her subjects, nude in mythical, dreamlike landscapes and, by doing so, she has created her own magical land. Her dreams as well as notions of vast nature and solitude inspire her work. Her subjects can be seen lying on beaches, rocks and in forests and give a off a sort of atmosphere of silence that can only be found in nature.
She uses cool colors in her photographs in a such a way that they give off an eerie yet comforting energy that explores deeper notions of solitude and the relationship we have with nature. By placing the human body in such settings, she plays with the intertwining of humanity and Mother Earth in such a way that reminds of our place in nature.
She plays with the idea that nature, like solitude can both surround and engulf us in both frightening and beautiful ways. In this, the grandeur of nature is paralleled with the waves of emotion we are sometimes subject to as human beings, Paquet depicts humans as a small part of the greater detail and the mythological energy that fills her photographs is reminiscent of Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream in the ways that is closely studies the power of nature and gives it a magical influence on human life. She focuses on the vastness of human emotion and aligns this vastness with the role nature plays in our lives and, on a greater scale our existence.
Beautiful/Decay has collaborated with a fresh crop of explosive new talents from the art and design world to create this Summer ’09 season. As usual, the t-shirt graphics range from bold, iconic graphics to playfully eclectic….but all share B/D’s signature aesthetic of bright, creative imagery that pushes the envelope of t-shirt design. Some talents from our roster include Sakke Soini, Kittozutto, Christopher Gray, Dekore, Oliver Hibert, Clara Terne and beyond. Pick up the latest styles on our online shop!
Tom Sanford just might be todays urban Norman Rockwell. Like the famed painter from the mid 1900’s Sanford is concerned with American culture. From paintings of famed rappers such as Tupac to history paintings featuring sleazy right wing radio hosts, Sanford documents, interprets and comments on the American psyche.
For his latest show opening this Saturday at Kravets|Wehby Sanford painted the famous, eccentric, historical, powerful and colorful residents of New York City that inspire him. Film maker Spike Lee, street artist Steven Powers, and even Mayor Bloomberg make appearances in paintings that shift from smooth graphic rendering to impasto patterning.
“I didn’t grow up in New York City but I moved here to attend Columbia at eighteen. I remember around that time my grandfather told me that “When you leave Broadway you’re camping out.” I have been here (pretty much) ever since, and I plan to stay. I relate to Dylan Ebdus in Lethem’s “The Fortress of Solitude.” I feel like I am missing it all, between my pathological devotion to my studio and my daddy duties I can go days without leaving home at all, and sometimes weeks without getting on the subway. But I need New York City. I feed of the culture. All the amazing people who inhabit this magical place, doing fantastic things. They create an energy, or perhaps an anxiety, that nourishes me and I must be close to the source. Hopefully I am contributing that energy as well.
For this show I made New York genre paintings, portraits and scenes of ordinary life in my city. The portraits are of some of the thousands of New Yorkers that make this place so rich. These are people that I associate very strongly with New York and the city’s culture. Some of them are people I have met, some I know, some I have just seen at a deli or on the street. –Tom Sanford
See more works by Tom Sanford here and check out a studio visit we did with him a while back here.